Khartoum, Sudan | THE INDEPENDENT | The Regional Nile Day 2020 celebrations are set to take place in Khartoum on February 22.
At least 500 Nile Basin citizens and friends of the Nile are expected to participate in the celebrations, according to the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) that is organising the annual event in collaboration with the government of Sudan.
Sudan is hosting the Regional Nile Day event for the second time, the first being in 2015. The celebrations, which will take place at Friendship Hall, will start with a brass band-led march
While addressing media representatives, Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Prof. Yasir Abbas Mohamed Ali, noted that February 22 marks a milestone in the history of Nile cooperation.
“It is on this date that for the first time, all independent, sovereign riparian countries of the Nile committed themselves to work together and harness the potentials of the shared river to promote cooperative sustainable socio-economic development of their countries,” he said.
He said the celebrations whose theme is, “Joint Investments on the Nile for Regional Transformation”, will among other things showcase some of the joint investment projects facilitated by NBI and implemented by the Member States, thus demonstrating to riparian communities, the feasibility of Nile cooperation.
One of the highlights of this cooperation is the 200 MW volume of power trade through the Ethiopia – Sudan Interconnector commissioned in 2015 by the Heads of State of the two countries and benefitting nearly 1.4 million households in both countries.
Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the Nile Basin countries (Nile Council of Ministers); representatives from NBI Member States embassies in Khartoum are expected to join in the celebrations.
Others expected are officials from Ministries whose activities touch on the management and development of the shared water resources, namely Water, Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Finance. Others are Members of Parliament, Development Partners, Researchers, Academia, Civil society, Youth, Media, and school children.
A number of activities have been lined up including an exhibition by various partners showcasing achievements and on-going works in water and water related activities, speeches different dignitaries focusing on the theme for the day, traditional cuisine and dance as well as performance by school children.
Later in the afternoon, Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the NBI Member States together will development partners will have a roundtable meeting to discuss how to accelerate implementation of the different investment projects prepared by NBI on behalf of the Member States.
The annual Nile Day event provides an opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of basin-wide Nile Cooperation in jointly taking good care of and utilising the shared Nile Basin water and related resources for win-win benefits. This is in addition to enhancing awareness about the consequences of non-cooperation as well as the challenges of Nile cooperation. The day also serves to expose participants to the rich and varied cultures, which exist within the Nile Basin.
Traversing about 6,695 kilometers, the Nile is one of world’s longest rivers, feeding millions and giving birth to entire civilizations. The river is a major source of water for the Nile Basin countries.
The Nile Basin Initiative is currently implementing a 10–year Strategy, whose six goals focussing on water, food and energy security, environmental sustainability, climate change adaptation and transboundary water governance, are meant to support Member States in addressing the above common challenges.